Last updated: July 17. 2013 3:39PM - 304 Views

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Rachel Dove-Baldwin

Staff Writer

MATEWAN — Plans are in place to hold a fundraiser for an 8-year-old Matewan Elementary student suffering from brain cancer, in hopes of assisting with the extreme costs of his medical bills and to also restore his morale and hope for a complete recovery.

This evening beginning at 5:30 p.m., at the Matewan Elementary school, a fall festival will be held that is open to the public to show support for Phillip Hurley, a third-grade student who was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer, during his second grade year of school. The festival will feature a variety of entertainment, games, cakewalks and a dance for the students. Homemade goodies will also be for sale.

Tracie Bragg, President of the local Parents and Teachers Organization (PTO), has been hard at work planning the festival, and told that Daily News that if all goes well, Phillip will be in attendance.

“We’ve had donations made by several area businesses that we’ve used to purchase items that Phillip needs and toys that he had mentioned wanting,” said Bragg. “This circumstance has broken all of our hearts and we wanted to do something to try to help with the medical bills associated with his treatments, but more than that, we wanted Phillip to have a special night set aside for him where he will be the star of the show.”

“This will be the first time Phillip has seen his fellow students since he was diagnosed and began receiving treatments. Everyone is very excited to see him again and get to spend some time together.”

Phillip is a huge fan of wrestling, boxing and body building, and Bragg made contact with Justin Coleman, an employee and trainer of The City Gym in Williamson, and asked if he could assist them in getting professional competitors to be at the fundraiser.

Thanks to Coleman’s cooperation, Phillip will be treated to an appearance by two professional Mixed Martial Art (MMA) fighters, Greg Maynard and Bo Preece; Cody Whitt, who is the current West Virginia Heavyweight Powerlifting Champion; and Warren Browning, who is the West Virginia Cruiserweight Boxing Champion. Coleman stated that he also has a jersey and other signed merchandise from the semi-pro West Virginia Miners football team that he intends to present to Phillip.

“It’s an honor to be asked to assist with something like this,” said Coleman. “I encourage everyone that possibly can to come out this evening and show your support for this little boy for is in a fight for his life.”

If you would like more information on this event or would like to make a monetary donation to the Hurley family, you may contact Bragg at 304-426-8447 or Theresa Hanshaw, the principal of the Matewan Elementary School, at 304-426-4719.

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